Paddling into a swell 2008

Gary Kewley
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Friday - December 28, 2007
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captures what's left of the Vans Triple Crown Pipeline Masters
Rowland@aspcoveredimages captures what’s left of the Vans Triple Crown Pipeline Masters

Happy Hollow Days, surfers! As we close out 2007 and head into 2008, there are still waves and contests galore. Yes, the biggest surfing event in the world (Vans Triple Crown) is over, but the waves keep rolling. And yes, competition has quieted down, but we keep surfing. The 38th annual Haleiwa International Open (HIO) presented by Surf N Sea is going on right now at Ali’i Beach Park. There were actually bigger waves this past week than any since the 15-foot NW swell Dec. 6. On Monday, Dec. 17, the Billabong Pipe Masters had to finish in 2- to 4-foot surf ... the smallest in its 37-year his- tory. So relatively speaking, the HIO is scoring. This four-day event is Planet Earth’s longest- running amateur surf contest, and will have to finish by Dec 31. By the looks of the forecast, this won’t be any problem whatsoever. It may be over by the time you read this. So go to to get the latest.

The jet stream has dropped itself farther south (from about 50 degrees north latitude to below 40), steering storms closer to Hawaii’s winter averages. The jet is large-scale upper air currents, which influence our weather and waves. Closer storms mean bigger waves. There’s always an exception, but we should see plenty advisory swells the first few months of ‘08. The upcoming surf event directors are smiling.

The next professional contest on the schedule is Da Hui’s Backdoor Shootout at the Banzai Pipeline, Jan. 2-13. Backdoor is right off Pipeline. It’s the same spot, different wave; it peels right and into a shallower inside than her left-handed partner. Yes, you read that right. Many pros and hard-core locals are more cautious of the right-hander

because of its shore bottom contours. There’s no place like Pipe.

I can almost guarantee that nature will make up for her lack at the Vans semi-grand finale. I must interject that if our North Shore surf mayor Randy Rarick and crew didn’t go on the exact day they did, they would have had to finish in 2-foot slop. They definitely made the best call with what they had.

And frankly, spectators were blown away with the surfing. It may not have been Pipeline, but it was still a Pipeline Masters title for all time - with the trophy, cash and car! Bede Durbidge is still stoked out of his mind. Will it take another 10 years for an Aussie to win a Vans Triple Crown? Something tells me no. I can’t wait another year to find out ... but I guess I don’t have much choice, do I? ...

Next up, the Hard Rock Junior Pro, for the state’s top surfers age 21 and younger, is scheduled for Jan. 14-25. Mason Ho will defend his title and continue the Ho Dynasty at Sunset Beach (or any- where on the North Shore, for that matter). I’d bet some money that Coco Ho (Michael’s 16-year- old daughter) could take down more than a few men out there. Stay tuned, and I’ll cover it all here and you know where ...

Let’s round out the end of January and the first week of

February. The Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic at the Banzai Pipeline is scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 6. This one-day event will have 48 competitors and 18 alternates.

Registration starts Dec. 27 online at The purest form of wave riding will be at the world’s most dangerous reef. The world’s top body surfers will tube ride and glide, swirl and twirl, wipeout and bow out ... so don’t miss out.

That should keep us busy and wet over the next month or so. I’ll keep you posted on it all at There’s a calendar link - go there or be square.Thanks to you for being here and for all your sup- port in 2007.


GQ, dropping in 4 U!


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